CNN's Jim Acosta called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to prosecute former president Donald Trump for inciting the Captiol insurrection and other violence on Saturday.
Noting that "we are living in an era of political violence," Acosta said the question isn't whether the situation will get worse, but whether we'll do anything about it.
He played a threatening voicemail received by GOP Congressman Fred Upton after voting in favor of a bipartisan infrastructure package, and pointed to the anime cartoon posted by Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of him killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
"The truth is, we have seen this movie before," Acosta said, noting that Trump supporters have been posting violent memes on social media and making threats for years.
"How many times does this need to happen before we all agree on what it is — incitement? And the reason why it keeps happening is that there has been zero accountability for those who do the inciting. Zero. The end result is an incentive structure for political threats and violence in this country," Acosta said, noting that GOP leaders like Kevin McCarthy have made clear they don't plan to do anything about it.
Nearly 11 months after the Capitol insurrection, the House's investigation has been stymied by Trump officials who've refused to cooperate, Acosta said. However, the indictment of Trump adviser Steve Bannon on Friday could be a sign that the stonewalling is coming to an end.
"But it may take more, a lot more, than a couple of orange jumpsuits to jump-start this investigation," he said, before playing audio of Trump defending Capitol rioters who called for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged, in an interview with ABC News' Jon Karl.
"What's amazing is that Trump basically tweeted all of this back on Jan. 6," Acosta said. "As dishonest as Trump can be, he can be remarkably candid, which begs the question: Isn't it time for the attorney general to target Trump? Ask him what he was doing pressuring those election officials and his own vice president to overturn the election results. You know he wants to talk. You know he wants to be put on the stand."
"If our system of justice cannot stop the likes of Trump from attacking our democracy through threats and intimidation like a mob boss, or even using outright violence, what's to stop it from happening again?" Acosta said. "This democracy is only as strong as the people willing to protect it, and if we don't protect it, we'll be letting it happen again. What's worse, storming the Capitol or letting them get away with it? Let's go Department of Justice, we've been waiting on you."
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